Disclaimer: I do not own The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

Rating: PG-13 for violence, language, and some drug use.

A/N: Someone I considered to be a friend has recently admitted to having a drug problem. I wrote this story to dedicate to them, and tothe Anti-Drugcampaigns going on. There are some mistakes you can't take back, and this is one of them.

Four Minutes

Chapter One

Move Along

"I want my own room."

She was a forty year old woman trying (with an increasing rate of impossibility) to make her next show on time, and he was her fifteen year old son, blonde hair long, skin pale against his black t-shirt and dark jeans requesting a major housing change at eight-oh-five at night. Welcome to Boston.

"Zack," she said as calmly as she could manage. "I have told you and your brother a million times, we don't have the space, okay? I'm already on the fold out as it is,"

He scowled and glared at her, blue eyes glinting. "Then I'm moving to Patrick's."

His mother sighed and screwed the cap of her mascara back on, placing it neatly next to her toothpaste near the sink. "Can we talk about this later, please?"

"No, mom, look, I'm not, like, sleeping in the same room as him, okay," Zack made a violent motion behind him and Carey didn't even have to ask to know that he was referring to his twin brother. "He's a freak, mom,"

"Zachary Martin," she scolded, closing her purse and forcing him backwards out of the small room. "Don't call your brother a freak. I'm late, we'll talk later."

Zack let out an angry groan. "Screw you," he said venomously.

She sighed and made her way to the door. "I'll be back around midnight," she said, looking at her son sternly. "You are not to leave the hotel, do you understand me? I don't want to hear fromMoseby or Codythat you went to Patrick's or the music store again," he rolled his eyes.

"I won't," he assured her in exasperation. "I'll justgo on the laptop, or watch TV or something."

"Or you could do your homework." Carey turned the knob. "I don't want another email from your math teacher that you're failing Algebra again,"

"I'm not," Zack said defensively. He was.

"Call me if you need anything,"

"Yeah, yeah,"

The door closed as his mother left, and Zack turned immediately towards the couch. He quickly scanned the coffee table before nodding as he found what he was looking for. He grabbed his cell phone and flipped it open, dialing from memory.

One ring.

Two rings.

Three ri-

The door to his room opened noisely.

"-Hey, Zack, did mom leave?"

He jumped and quickly snapped the phone shut, spinning around to face his identical twin, trying to wipe the freaked expression off his face. "What?"

Cody raised a brow. "What?"

Zack shook his head and ran a hand through his bangs. "No, I mean yeah, yeah she already left."

Cody nodded. "Okay, cool," he grabbed a book off the table and plopped down on the couch, cracking it open. "You study for history yet?"

Zack let out s snort. "No," he said, laughing.

"Well that's smart considering you have a-what? A D-?"

"-A D, actually,"

Cody chuckled in a way that made Zack's temper bristle. "Smooth, man, you are planning on going to college, right? I don't want some bum for a brother,"

Zack clenched his jaw. "Yeah?" he said, voice laced with resentment. "Well I don't want some loser for a brother, but hey, you take what you get." He grabbed his cell and pocketed it (feeling the cool metal of his Zippo). "I'm leaving."

Cody looked up. "You can't leave the hotel," he said pointedly. "Mom-,"

"-I don't give a crap," Zack cut him off, shrugging on a black sweatshirt and picking up his guitar case (instrument safely inside). He left the suite, ignoring Cody's protests and rode the elevator down to the ground floor.

"Move," he said to a man lost in the day's headlines as he shoved past him. He was irritable, and no it was wonder; it had been eight hours since his last smoke. Patrick and the rest of his friends were waiting for him at the house and contrary to his reputation, Zack was never one to be late.

Cody watched the door close and sighed as he once more focused his attention on the Industrial Revolution. He figured that if his brother wanted to get grounded for the rest of his underage life then that was just fine for him.

He was halfway through the chapter when the phone rang, startling him from his concentration. Blinking a few times he reached for the phone and held it to his ear. "Hello?" he spoke into it.

"Cody? It's mom," Cody bit his lip. Bad news for Zack.

"Hey, mom," he said, trying to sound casual. Question: would he cover for his twin this time, or turn him in? He tended to switch between the two at random intervals, usually based on how many times he'd been called loser or freak or geek that day. For a Friday, today hadn't been bad. Just that one little slip up fifteen minutes ago.

"Listen, honey, I'm going to be late tonight; the show's been delayed because of some seating confusion," Cody raised a brow. Well, maybe that was actually good news for Zack. "I should be back around one. Don't wait up, okay?"

Cody nodded then remembered she couldn't see him. "Got it," he said, marking his spot in the textbook and flipping open his cell. "See you later," he said as she hung up. Securing the home phone back on its base he frowned as he noticed a picture of some band as the background instead of the plain blue he had selected. Zack. He rolled his blue eyes and was about to press the key to take him to his Contact List (figuring his brother had just switched it to piss him off) when a little envelope popped up on the screen alerting him to a new voicemail.

Cody stared at it unblinkingly. Huh. Zack must have taken the wrong phone with him when he left…He was probably reading all his, Cody's, text messages to Lauren. Cody blushed. Suddenly feeling a little angry, he clicked OK to listen to the voice mail. The machine went through the usual introduction before a beep sounded and a boy's voice spoke through the speakers.

"Hey, Zack, it's Patrick. We're all gonna go to Joe's house tonight at eight thirty so if you want the weed you gotta come. His parent's are at some concert until midnight or whatever, so it's cool. Okay. Catch you then, man."

Another beep resonated and the machine's electronic voice sounded again. Cody closed the phone numbly. He stared out into space, brow furrowed.



So that explained the coughing, the temper, the exhaustion, and the grades. That explained the rebellion, the attitude, the aggression.

That explained why Cody no longer felt like he knew his own brother.

Because he didn't. He didn't know that person named Zack at all.

He didn't know his own twin.

Zack tried to grin at the boy who opened the door to the house, but all he could concentrate on was what he knew he would find in the one of these rooms.

"Zack, man!"

He turned in relief when he saw Patrick hold a smoking cigarette in the air and made his way over. "Hey, man," he said, nodding at the others around.

"Been awhile for you?" Patrick asked, grinning from ear to ear, Zack chuckled slightly and nodded.

"Way too long," he said.

"Then here," Patrick held out a joint. "It's all your's."

Zack looked at it, feeling the familiar burst of hesitation curse through him. At first it had been almost terrorizing, but as his sophomore year progressed it had been reduced to a feeling of cold guilt he had taught himself to ignore. "Thanks," he mumbled, fumbling with his lighter as he took it and lit up.

He sighed in satisfaction as he took a long drag.

"So how's life?" Patrick asked him casually as they sank into a leather couch in what Zack took to be a living room.

He shrugged. "It's okay. My grades suck, my brother sucks, my mom sucks, and the weather sucks, but I got my guitar so it's all good," he finger the smooth texture of the case in comfort.

Patrick chuckled. "Sometimes I wonder what you're really addicted to," he said in mock concentration. Zack's insides squirmed uncomfortably at the word addiction, and he averted his eyes downward. "This pot or that guitar,"

Zack shrugged, unable to come up with an answer.

Cody had thrown on a jacket before leaving the suite, but still the March air nipped at him coolly. He didn't notice, though, he was too intent on his destination to care. He had his driver's permit, but it wasn't a license and he didn't want to be caught driving without a legal adult so he had to walk to the house.

He knew where it was—Joe Calgin's family had enough money to make London (who had long since gone to "fashion school") look like middle class.

Cody couldn't believe.

Zack, his brother, his twin, smoking weed? As in Marijuana?

This wasn't going to sit well. With anyone, but especially not with Cody.

Zack was feeling very relaxed and chatting with Patrick and some girl named Amy (or was it Annie?) when suddenly someone gave a shout from another room. Zack looked up, his reactions slow and uncoordinated.

"What-?" Patrick slurred, cracking an eye open.

"FIRE!" Someone shouted, and suddenly the air was filled with the sounds of escaping feet and slamming doors.

Zack looked over at Patrick and Amy, who stood up slowly with him. "We should pro-ly go," he said, trying to sort out everything going on.

"Yeah…" Patrick agreed, planting a wet kiss on Amy's cheek. He led them out of the room and into the front hall where thick, dense, black smoke filled the air. Zack began to cough, clutching at his throat as it began to close, fireworks of fear exploding in the pit of his stomach.

Damn that Asthma!

And when he looked up again he couldn't seem to find Patrick or Amy or anyone he recognized. The smoke made it hard to breathe, and he choked as he glanced around in disorientation.

He turned his head to his right when BAM something hard hit him in the skull. He fell back onto the floor, his mind reeling with pain. His last conscious thought was that he didn't have his guitar, and then it all went black.

Cody saw the smoke a block away, and the seed of unease in his stomach began to sprout into full-on horror as frantic kids he knew from school began passing him on the sidewalk, panting and sweating.

"What happened?" He asked one he recognized from his science class.

"Fire, man," the kid said, voice thick. Cody could tell he wasn't totally there; his eyes were unfocused and his hands shook slightly. "Not a good idea to light the fake flowers, man, bad idea, man, bad idea."

"Wait-," Cody said before the boy could get away. "Where?"

"That one person's house, man,"

"That one person's—Joe Calgin's house?"

"Yeah, man, Joe-ster's house!"

Cody's eyes widened and his heart skipped a beat in terror. "Oh my God," he managed. "ZACK!"

He ran through the streets, trying desperately to find his twin brother in the crowds, but unable to locate him. He stopped random teens, drilling them for where he was, but none of them knew. None of them cared.

He spotted Patrick from a distance and sprinted over to him. "Where's Zack?" he demanded, ignoring the cigarette still smoking in the other boy's hand.

"He's right-," Patrick looked around and then stopped for a moment and paused to think. His expression of utter confusion would have been comic had it not been for the unfortunate circumstance Cody now found himself in. "-He was right there," Patrick finished unhelpfully.

"You lost him!" Cody cried, lashing out at the taller boy and pushing him away aggressively. Patrick reacted sluggishly, the drugs messing with his head, and by the time he had unleashed a chain of cuss words and insults Cody was running away in the opposite direction.


And as he rounded the last corner and saw the flames licking the dark sky as they destroyed the mansion, he pulled out his cell phone.

No one had remembered to dial 911.

To Be Continued.